There’s a growing number of “free-money” apps out there that end up sucking you in with drawn-out surveys, discount codes, and other tasks that save you small pocket change for your valuable time. That’s why a new wave of apps, modeling automation in other corners of the fintech world like investment services, are offering free savings services without you having to do much at all.
The Drop app, targeted at Millennial consumers and launched in 2017, is a great option for those who want to automate the cash-back process. Users earn points for spending at their favorite stores, accumulated in a virtual wallet that can be redeemed for gift cards.
“Drop is disrupting the $40+ billion loyalty market with a strong focus on design, user experience, and engineering,” according to the Canadian company’s website. Drop users have reportedly earned over $3 million in rewards to date.
As of October 2018, Drop reported more than 1 million members and has reached the top 3 in the iTunes App Store under Lifestyle. Apple customers gave it an average rating of 4.7/5.0, based on approximately 36,000 reviews.
What is Drop?
Drop is an easy-to-use intelligent mobile rewards platform that lets you exchange your earned points for gift cards at various retailers. The free smartphone app links to your credit and debit card to automatically give you points as you go about your normal shopping.
The company makes money from affiliate marketing partnerships and shares a part of its commission with you through its rewards.
How Does Drop Work?
- Download the app via iTunes or Google Play
- Create an account and link the credit or debit card(s) you use most
- Pick five of your favorite Cash Back locations for your “power offers” (e.g. Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Uber, Target, Walmart). Choose the places where you know you spend the most money as you won’t be able to change these later.
- Shop as you normally would and earn points. Every time you spend money using your linked cards at any of the five stores, you will automatically earn cash back. They have many other partner stores that you can “activate” to earn cash back as well so you’re not restricted to your five power offers. For example, Safeway offers 8 points per dollar, while Urban Outfitters offers 15 points per dollar and Starbucks offers 12 per dollar. Each 1,000 points earns you $1.
- Trade points for gift cards. Retailers let you redeem points with gift cards. Spend them on yourself or use them as gifts for friends and family.
Drop highlights other ways to earn cash back through its platform. For example, users can opt to sign up for bonus offers, such as a one-time offer to refer a friend or win points with a particular merchant.
The “Shop Through Drop” section facilitates in-app shopping with select brands based on your chosen “power offers.” You can earn points with these brands without linking your card.
How to Get Your Cash
Drop offers gift cards for top brands across fashion, travel, beauty, big box retail, entertainment, and food and beverage categories. Popular gift cards include Amazon, Starbucks, AMC, Sephora and more.
Participating cash back stores include Uber, Nordstrom, Lululemon, Shake Shack, and Domino’s Pizza, to name a few.
The cash-out minimum is 5,000 points, or the equivalent of a $5 gift card.
What You Need to Know Before Using Drop
While Drop helps you save automatically, it is still rewarding you for spending money, which can be a risky proposition for many millennials seeking to cut down on expenses and saving up for big-ticket items. The bottom line is you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money to even be eligible for the minimum $5 gift card but they have a promo code to help you get there faster.
Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 5,000 points ($5) automatically when you link your first card on Drop.
At a 0.8% return per dollar, you’ll have to shell out $625 dollars to earn your first gift card which at first glance, may seem like a lot but over time your normal purchases will add up.
That said, the tradeoff is that Drop runs in the background and requires little to no action on your end besides cashing in your points – however long it takes you to get there.
See all our favorite cash back apps here: Best Cash Back Shopping Apps for Every Shopper.